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 GROWTHWORKS Directory:  U-Z 


 U.F.O. ContACtee     

    Suzanne Brennan
River of Light Energy Vision Healing
Nyack, NY  (845)348-2991



 Universal Worship Service     

The purpose of ritual is to awaken us to a deeper level of reality, to move us beyond our ordinary every-day consciousness into a more intuitive awareness of The Creative and The Sacred.

A Universal Worship Service is a synthesis of the major religions and sometimes those of the minor religions, including all spiritual paths. Included in this service are healing circles, chants, candle lighting and more.

In honoring the beauty and uniqueness of each tradition, we affirm and embrace the One Divine Universal Source underlying all paths and religions.

Suggested Reading:
>The Bhagavad-Gita—Hinduism
>The Sutras—Buddhism
>Analects of Confucius—Confucianism
>Tao Te Ching—Taoism
>The Old Testament—Judaism
>The New Testament—Christianity
>The Koran—Islam
>The Religions of Man—Huston Smith

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 Vegetarianism / Macrobiotics      

People become vegetarians for many reasons: spiritual, humanitarian, health, ecological, economical, and religious. The diet is often an outward manifestation of the inward feelings for becoming a vegetarian. Thus, the diet spectrum is almost as varied as the reasons.

Lacto-ova vegetarians eat dairy and eggs and probably constitute the largest group. Within this category are people who eat dairy and no eggs (lacto-vegetarian) or eat eggs and no dairy (ova-vegetarian). Vegans eat no animal products or by-products and use no fur, silk, wool, or leather. Natural hygienists pursue a healthful lifestyle that emphasizes raw foods in compatible combinations for superior digestion. They avoid all animal products as well. Fruitarians eat only foods that are considered fruits, which include fruity vegetables like cucumbers and avocados, as well as nuts and seeds.

Macrobiotics are generally vegetarians, although fish can be included in small amounts in this Eastern philosophy in which the concept of yin/yang, or a balance between opposites, is at the core. Grains are the mainstay of the diet, with brown rice considered to be the most balanced food.

As people have become more aware of the relationship between diet and disease, vegetarianism has become more acceptable as a way of eating and also a way of life.

Suggested Reading:
>Diet for a New America—John Robbins
>The Natural Gourmet—Annemarie Colbin
>Transition to Vegetarianism— Rudolph Ballentine
>Animal Liberation and Animal Factories—Peter Singer
>Vegetarian Resource Guide—Georgia Wheatley
>Why Do Vegetarians Eat Like That?—David Gabbe


Vision Therapy      

Using a variety of holistic practices ranging from relaxation techniques to color therapy, vision can be improved and eyestrain eliminated.

Individuals suffering from simple near or farsightedness, visual fatigue, visually-related tension headaches or even more serious problems such as Lazy-eye can benefit from easy-to-learn, self-help eyesight improvement techniques. The enhanced visual acuity achieved through these holistic practices leads to a fuller, more vibrant experience of life.

Suggested Reading:
>The Art of Seeing—Aldous Huxley
>Help Yourself to Better Eyesight— Margaret Darst Corbett
>The Bates Method for Better Eyesight Without Glasses—  William Bates, MD.
>Take Off Your Glasses and See— Jacob Liberman

 Vision Therapy Practitioners Listed Below:   

    Dr. Marc Grossman
Author, "Natural Eye Care: An Encyclopedia", 
by Keats Publishers.

Rye, NY   (914)967-1740
New Paltz, NY    (845)255-3728


 Visualization and Imagery      

These concepts are outgrowths of the work of Carl Jung and Roberto Assagioli, both of whom wished to integrate elements of Eastern spirituality with Western psychology. By using techniques which stimulate our senses and evoke the natural energies of our imagination, visualization/imagery can function as a vehicle for developing and enhancing such areas in our lives as stress management, self-esteem, relationships to others, and physical well-being.

Suggested Reading:
>Creative Visualization—Shakti Gawain
>Creative Visualization—Denning & Phillips
>Healing Yourself—Martin Rossman
>Healing Visualizations and Healing Into Immortality—Gerald Epstein
>Guided Meditations, Explorations, and Healings—Stephen Levine

 Visualization / Imagery Practitioners Listed Below:  

    Neal Levy, C.S.W.
Adolescents/Adults & Couples, Stepfamily Issues, Clinical Imagery
Nyack, NY    (845)353-2482
New York City  (212)517-5844  

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 Voice & Movement Healing Work

Voice and movement are the two primary expressions of the energy that we are.  We are always involved with one or both. How free we feel using our voices and bodies reflects the degree of well-being we experience in our lives physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Where the energetic flow is blocked, our expression is limited and our health compromised. 

The sound of the voice creates a resonating chamber that surrounds the participant with healing vibration.  The participant can also join or initiate the sound field.  In addition, s/he “gives voice to” parts of the self that lie hidden, causing conflict until they are heard and assimilated.

The flow of the moving body creates pathways that guide the participant toward self-discovery.  Where movement constricts or resists, the participant can uncover old wounds.  The body’s wisdom ensures that only what is manageable will be revealed at any time.

By working directly with the voice and body movement, one gently uncovers habitual patterns of being that are no longer helpful.  We then allow these patterns to transform in ways that support us as healthy and authentic human beings.

Guided voice and movement healing work can open pathways to inner peace, insight, release, conviction, and joy.  This work offers rich and visceral ways of exploring, honoring, and transforming that which stands in the way of our true expression.




    Advanced Medical of Mt. Kisco (click on name to view display ad!)
Mt. Kisco, NY   (914)241-7030



    Hudson Valley Wellness Center
Vladimir Bougaenko, L.Ac., D.Ay, Ph.D.
Spring Valley, NY    (845)371-2740

Yonkers, NY    (845)337-5868

     Schachter Center for Complementary Medicine
Two Executive Blvd., Suite 202
Suffern, NY   (845)368-4700



    Advanced Medical of Mt. Kisco (click on name to view display ad!)
Mt. Kisco, NY   (914)241-7030



Wicca can be described as a shamanic religion and so only a select few feel compelled to enter its circle of light. Using chanting, meditation, concentration, visualization, music, dance, invocation and ritual drama, the Wicca achieve a state of ritual consciousness similar to those attained by the most brutal shamanic ordeals allowing communication and communion with The Goddess and God, who are both within ourselves and manifest in all nature. There are many denom- inations of Wicca including Alexandrian, American Celtic, Australian, Georgian, Circle, and others.

Suggested Reading:
Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practioner; Living Wicca;
Family Wicca; The Truth About Witchcraft Today—Scott Cunningham
>What Witches Do; The Witches' Goddess; The Witches' God
and The Witches’ Way—Janet and Stewart Farrar
>Drawing Down the Moon—Margot Adler
>Wicca: The Old Religion in the New Millenium—Vivianne Crowley

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According to the 2nd century sanscrit scholar Patanjali, Yoga is where modifications and fluctuations in consciousness cease. In this state the practitioner of Yoga (or Yogi) accesses and abides in his or her own highest consciousness and purest essence.The Yogi then links and unites with The One Universal Spirit.

At the practical level and included in the contemporary definitions of Yoga are the actual physiological/mental techniques themselves. These techniques are known as Hatha Yoga and include numerous body movements, postures, breathing exercises, the lifting and manipulating of internal organs, the locking of body orifices and cleansing techniques. In some of the practices described, the Yogi gains voluntary control of the involuntary systems, thereby gaining mastery over body and mind in order to attain that state of universal consciousness called Yoga.

Suggested Reading:
>Richard Hittleman's Yoga 28-Day Exercise Plan
>Yoga: The Iyengar Way—Silva, Mira, and Shyana Mehta

Suggested Yoga Videos:
>Richard Hittleman's Yoga Video Course I & II
>Yoga for Beginners Video—Patricia Walden
>Yoga Journal's Yoga Practice Videos: I) for Flexibility, II) for Strength, III) for Relaxation, & IV) for Energy—Walden & Yee
>The Kundalini Experience—Ravi Singh

Yoga Teachers Training Certification Program

Kundalini Yoga    
For those who have had a Kundalini Experience--a psychic energy rising from the base of their spine, awakening the seven centers of consciousness or chakras (a psycho-physiological transmutation experience)--a support group is recommended:

Kundalini Support Group for those who have had 
a Kundalini
call Maureen Orfino Pollinger at (845)353-4769

Suggested Reading: The Kundalini Experience: Psychosis or Transcendence --Lee Sannella.

 Yoga Practitioners / Teachers Listed Below:   

    Paula Heitzner (click to view display ad!)
Classes at the New Age Center
Teacher Training Certification Program

Nyack, NY   (845)356-5613

    Maureen Orfino-Pollinger
Kundalini Yoga
Nyack, NY   (845)353-4769

    Ken Pollinger
New Age Center   (845)358-6448
Point of Infinity    (845)647-8834


 yoga therapy/phoenix rising     

Yoga Therapy/Phoenix Rising is an emerging form of bodywork that uses yoga postures to facilitate body/mind integration. Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy is a specific approach designed to tap into spiritual knowing by using the body as a metaphor for life. Using hand-on support and non-directive dialogue techniques, the therapy empowers clients to interpret their own insights and make life choices based on those awarenesses. Integrative Yoga Therapy is a wellness program that bridges the timeless insights of yoga with the latest discoveries in mind-body health.

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The essence of Zen is the experience of no-self, or unity with Oneness wherein all duality ceases. There are various formal Zen systems and informal lay practices where individuals do “zen sitting” (sometimes known as breath-counting) in order to awaken themselves and their life to life as it is to the immediacy of this very moment or the development of insight into the whole of life becoming more aware of and transcending the “observational self” which observes the “thinking self,” the “feeling self,” and the “functioning self.” Sitting practice leads to the consciousness of “I-am-who-I-am-right-now” and that very state of being is The Buddha.

Suggested Reading:
>Everyday Zen & Nothing Special—Charlotte Soko Beck
>Zen Mind, Beginners Mind—Shunryu Suzaki
>The Three Pillars of Zen—Roshi Philip Kapleau
>The Spirit of Zen—Alan Watts

Important Latest Info on Zen: 

New York Times ARTS pg. B9 | January 11, 2003

Meditating on War and Guilt,
Zen Says It's Sorry


To many Americans, Zen Buddhists primarily devote themselves to discovering inner serenity and social peace. But Zen has had strong ties to militarism — indeed so strong, that the leaders of one of the largest denominations in Japan have remorsefully compared their former religious fanaticism during Japan's brutal expansionism in the 1930's and 40's to today's murderously militant Islamists.

The unexpected apology for wartime complicity by the leaders of Myoshin-ji, the headquarters temple of one of Japan's main Zen sects, was issued 16 days after 9/11, which gave it a particular resonance. But the leaders of Myoshin-ji — as well as other Zen Buddhist leaders who have also delivered apologies over the past two years — mainly credit a disillusioned Westerner for their public regrets: Brian Victoria, a former Methodist missionary, who is a Zen priest and historian.

Buddhist leaders in Japan and the United States said in recent interviews that Mr. Victoria had exerted a profound influence, especially in the West, by revealing in his 1997 book, "Zen at War," a shockingly dark and unfamiliar picture of Zen during World War II to followers who had no idea about its history. Keiitsu Hosokawa, secretary general of Myoshin-ji, made a speech to the group's general assembly in September 2002 in which he said that the Japanese edition of "Zen at War" had been one of several factors that "provided the impetus" to issue the group's apology.

Now, in a new sequel called "Zen War Stories," Mr. Victoria has dug more specifically into relationships between Zen leaders and the military during World War II.

From its beginnings in Japan, Zen has been associated with the warrior culture established by the early shoguns. But the extent of its involvement in World War II has stayed mostly submerged until recently. Many people in the United States and Europe know Zen's indirect traces through the poetry of the Beats or the quietist aura of contemporary architecture and clothing.

Even John Dower, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of modern Japan at M.I.T., whose early interest in Japan was kindled by Zen-inspired architecture, said that Mr. Victoria's works had opened his eyes to "how Zen violated Buddhism's teachings about compassion and nonviolence."

Ina Buitendijk, a Dutch Zen devotee, was so inspired by Mr. Victoria's work in 1999 that she mounted a letter-writing campaign pressing Zen leaders to confront their history. Mrs. Buitendijk's husband, along with other Dutch civilians, was interned by the Japanese in the Dutch East Indies during World War II. All this she put into the 28 letters she said she had written to Zen spiritual figures, educators and administrative leaders in Japan. A number of leaders responded, sending her official apologies, some of which were published.

The Myoshin-ji statement, first issued on Sept. 27, 2001, for example, was expanded in a major religious newspaper in Japan in September 2002. The initial statement said that the conflict between America and an anti-American jihad made it important to remember "that in the past our nation, under the banner of Holy War, initiated a conflict that led to great suffering."

The more detailed version apologized for helping to lend a religious purpose to invasions, colonization and the former empire's destruction of "20 million precious lives." The self-critical account also described how Myoshin-ji members followed Japanese invaders across Asia, "established branch headquarters and missions" in conquered areas, even "conducted fund-raising drives to purchase military aircraft."

Two other Zen groups — the Tenryu-ji temple and the Sanbo-kyodan foundation — and several individual Zen leaders have also issued apologies after receiving Mrs. Buitendijk's letter for war-time complicity, which have appeared in Buddhist publications in Europe and the United States.

Mr. Victoria, 63, is a former Nebraskan who lives in Australia and teaches Japanese studies at the University of Adelaide. He embraced Zen in 1961, partly because he believed its history was free of the violent conflicts that had marked Western religion.

In 1964, ordained a Soto priest while living in Japan and increasingly active in opposing the Vietnam War, he was chastised by a religious superior for taking part in peace protests. He then discovered the writings of Ichikawa Hakugen, a Zen priest who had taken an early look at Zen's war-time role. It was buried, like that of Emperor Hirohito, by efforts to stabilize Japan during the cold war, Mr. Victoria said.

Mr. Victoria subsequently conducted numerous interviews with aging priests and plumbed Japanese military archives to detail how military figures and Zen leaders had jointly shaped Zen meditative practice into forms of military training.

"Zen was a large part of the spiritual training not only of the Japanese military but eventually of the whole Japanese people," he said in an interview. "It would have led them to commit national suicide if there had been an American invasion."

"Zen War Stories" quotes from manuals for battlefield behavior that Mr. Victoria says drew on Zen. It tells how the military modeled eating utensils on those in monasteries, how kamakazi pilots visited for spiritual preparation before their final missions.

Japanese Zen is a mosaic of different denominations, the two overarching groups being the Soto school, which emphasizes quiet sitting meditation, and the Rinzai school, which teaches a more aggressive practice based on solving spiritual riddles or koans. The Japanese tend to combine different kinds of Buddhist practice, including Zen and non-Zen forms.

Both of Mr. Victoria's books peel back layers of the career of D. T. Suzuki, who taught at Columbia University in the 1950's and remains the best-known Japanese advocate of Zen in the West. In 1938, however, Mr. Suzuki used his prestige as a scholar in Japan to assert that Zen's "ascetic tendency" teaches the Japanese soldier "that to go straight forward and crush the enemy is all that is necessary for him."

"What Brian Victoria has written is mostly right," said Jiun Kubota, the third patriarch of Sanbo-kyodan, a small Zen group outside Tokyo that has also issued an apology. "I dare say that Zen was used as the spiritual backbone of the military army and navies during the war."

Mr. Victoria's research has revealed that the founder of Sanbo-kyodan, Mr. Kubota's longtime teacher, was an outspoken militarist and anti-Semite during the war years. His name was Hakuun Yasutani, and he was one of the most significant figures in advancing the popularity of Zen Buddhism in the United States in the 1960's.

In 1999, the New York-based magazine Tricycle published excerpts of a 1943 book that Mr. Victoria had unearthed in which Yasutani expressed his hatred of "the scheming Jews." Actually, the Zen master probably knew few if any Jews, and Mr. Victoria believes he was using them as a stalking horse for liberalism.

Traditionally, Zen stresses an inward search for understanding and mental discipline. But Mr. Victoria said that imperial military trainers developed the self-denying egolessness Zen prizes into "a form of fascist mind-control." He said Suzuki and others helped by "romanticizing" the tie between Zen and the warrior ethos of the samurai. Worse, he charges, they stressed a connection between Buddhist compassion and the acceptance of death in a way that justified collective martyrdom and killing one's enemies.

"In Islam, as in the holy wars of Christianity, there is a promise of eternal life," Mr. Victoria said in an interview. "In Zen, there was the promise that there was no difference between life and death, so you really haven't lost anything."

Despite the apologies, some of the Zen leaders say that Mr. Victoria is too hard on Zen Buddhists. Thomas Kirchner, an American-born Myoshin-ji monk, who translated its World War II apology and those of other sects, argued that in the view of Japanese Zen leaders Mr. Victoria doesn't sufficiently explain that "conformist pressures on all Japanese that were immense."

Masataka Toga, secretary general of Tenryu-ji, echoed that view. Mr. Kirchner also argued that Mr. Victoria doesn't offer a sufficiently textured picture of the religious landscape of wartime Japan. Other Buddhist sects and Japanese Christians also supported the war, along with the emperor-deifying religion of Shinto.

Herbert Bix, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan," says it is important to see Mr. Victoria's work within the broad picture of Japanese religion and politics at the time.

Still, Mr. Bix, Mr. Kirchner and others praise Mr. Victoria's work. Indeed, it's hard to find a scholar of authority who takes issue with the basic findings of "Zen at War," which has chapter titles like "The Incorporation of Buddhism into the Japanese War Machine (1913-30)."

Mr. Victoria sees hope for Buddhism in a Western-style "engaged Buddhism" that increasingly seeks to combine meditative practice with work for social progress and peace.

That moral growth, he believes, must come with a cold-eyed look at how basic Zen concepts were abused in the past: "I want my work to provide a model that it is possible to take an unflinching look at what is really happening with a religion while remaining essentially committed to it."


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